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What the Pecha Kucha?

Pecha Kucha is a presentation method, developed in Japan, that is reputed to improve audience attention, writes Andrea Pickerin of Marketing Wizdom.

The post that follows is a piece I wrote for Edinburgh Training Centre’s monthly e-newsletter,  It was well received, so they’ve kindly given us permission to reproduce it here. Enjoy:

What the Pecha Kucha?

Is this just a fad or a universally fabulous method for addressing conferences that will stand the test of time? Can the concept be integrated into training techniques?

Have you heard of it? Have you used it? Is it like Marmite – do you love it or hate it? Please email to let us know your experience and views of this acclaimed end to “Death by PowerPoint”

What is it?

Pecha Kucha, usually pronounced pe-chak-cha or pet-shah coot-shah depending on who you talk to, is a method of presenting that ensures both content and length are kept short and to the point, hence the claim of ending the nightmare we’ve all experienced – death by PowerPoint.

Using this format, presenters are limited to 20 slides, each of which can be shown for no more than 20 seconds. This is strictly adhered to using a combination of slide-show and automated timer functions on your computer, and limiting the entire presentation to 6 minutes, 40 seconds!

Where has it come from?

It was created in 2003 by two architects living in Japan – Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham – to give young designers a venue to meet, network and show their work in public. Their intention was to find a way of improving audience attention (manna from heaven!), whilst increasing the total number of presentations that could take place in one event, and even encourage those more shy presenters to actually take part.

The term “Pecha Kucha” is Japanese for the din of conversation, like chit-chat and it has been described as forcing the presenter to talk from their heart, as people used to do before PowerPoint became a crutch.

The real world

Can this format turn the traditional PowerPoint presentation on its head and stimulate a more engaging, passionate and memorable experience for conference and training participants? We have struggled to find examples of use outside the creative industries and would love to hear from you if you’ve used it yourself or would like to trial it within your organisation.

Julia Middleton, chief executive of leadership development organization Common Purpose is quoted in Personnel Today as saying that the organisations that will come out of the recession first will be those who utilse creativity to best advantage, being first to bring good ideas to market, adapt to new circumstances and go from idea to reality most quickly.

Could Pecha Kucha play a part in this drive for more creativity in the workplace?

If you need a training venue in Edinburgh, we can certainly recommend Edinburgh Training Centre and have used their facilities many times. Located right at the centre of the old city, it is just a few steps away from the Royal Mile that Links Holyrood House and the Scottish Parliament to Edinburgh Castle.

Please share your thoughts and add your questions to the comments below. I’ll try to provide as many answers as possible in my future online videos, seminars, workshops, masterclasses and blog posts.

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